Marketing Report
Over half of Dutch and Belgian banking and retail companies are not optimizing local SEO, iO study news

Over half of Dutch and Belgian banking and retail companies are not optimizing local SEO, iO study

According to a recent study by blended agency iO, more than half of the Dutch and Belgian organisations in banking and retail are either not optimising or barely optimising their local SEO. As a result, these companies are missing out on opportunities to enhance customer experiences and are neglecting potential business growth. 

In 2020, blended agency iO investigated how retail chains in the Netherlands improved their regional online visibility through Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The results of the benchmark report were disappointing: a staggering 75% of companies did not optimise for local consumer search intent.

Consequently, these businesses failed to direct people to their digital and physical touchpoints through local search traffic at times when two-thirds of consumers predominantly surf the web on mobile devices.

Local visibility: 50% of the bank & retail sector underperforms

Some three years later, iO, in collaboration with SEO Data Partner Flipstream, mapped out the local SEO strategy for retail sectors once again, but this time on a broader scale. iO has examined 14 sectors across 36 cities, totalling nearly 100,000 business locations in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Even today, the results of iO's benchmark report give cause for reflection. While the scores today are, on average, higher than in 2020, more than 50% of the analysed companies are still not optimising for local search queries or doing so only minimally.

Banks, supermarkets, and car dealers: significant growth opportunities

Not all businesses in the report are underperformers: with an average optimisation score of 53%, Dutch companies do marginally better than Belgian businesses. Among the fourteen sectors examined, the telecommunications and electronics sectors are the top performers, with 57% and 59%, respectively.

Supermarkets and car dealers fall below the halfway mark with their local optimisation scores, while banks score a meagre 30%. Dutch and Belgian banks and retail chains have much to gain through local SEO, not only to increase their local search traffic but also to boost their sales. After all, those searching for a product or service nearby often intend to make a purchase.

Clarissa Filius, Team Lead SEO, iO: "Banks perform the worst as a sector. By focusing on local SEO, they can generate business growth and offer consumers searching for stores or services in their vicinity a better customer experience. "

iO's Local SEO benchmark: making progress

Another reason companies should pay more attention to their local SEO is the shift in the digital search landscape. People are increasingly finding information through social media and apps. A staggering 77% of smartphone users regularly use a navigation app. Thus, the chances of someone searching for a business or service via Google Maps are significant. 

Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) is on the rise. With its help, search engines like Google and Bing will soon be able to combine large amounts of data from multiple sources.

Companies need to offer these search engines accurate, relevant, and up-to-date information, for example, by optimising their Google Business profile, posting Google Posts, and positioning themselves in more than one category. 

Clarissa: "No organisation can afford to lag behind in the new and local search landscape. With a consistent local SEO strategy, they can quickly regain a competitive edge.”